The US Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Och-Ziff’s two former executives for leading
and directing the bribery scheme involving African government officials.
Michael Cohen, the hedge
fund’s ex-chief of the European office, and Vanja Baros, an investment executive
who worked on African deals, were the “driving forces” behind the alleged
crime, the SEC claimed.
“Cohen and Baros were the
masterminds of Och-Ziff’s bribery scheme that improperly used investor funds to
pay bribes through agents and partners to officials at the highest levels of
foreign governments,” said Kara Brockmeyer, the chief of the SEC’s Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
According to the SEC,
Cohen and Baros’ “misconduct” violated the FCPA by not only “inducing” the
Libyan Investment Authority sovereign fund to invest in Och Ziff’s funds, but
also paying bribes to “corruptly influence” officials in Chad, Niger, Guinea,
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The two charges come after
Och-Ziff paid a large settlement of more than $400 million regarding these
violations last September to the SEC and the Department of Justice.
“This has been a deeply
disappointing episode,” Daniel Och, Och-Ziff’s CEO, said in September. “This
conduct is inconsistent with our core values and not representative of our
hundreds of employees worldwide, who are dedicated to serving our clients with
the utmost integrity. We have learned from this experience and taken significant
steps to strengthen Och-Ziff.”
The SEC said it is
pursuing “monetary penalties” against Cohen and Baros.
Och-Ziff to Pay $400M to Settle Bribery Charges